Digital Health

“DIGITAL HEALTH REFERS TO THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES IN MEDICINE AND OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONS TO MANAGE ILLNESSES AND HEALTH RISKS AND TO PROMOTE WELLNESS. DIGITAL HEALTH HAS A BROAD SCOPE AND INCLUDES THE USE OF WEARABLE DEVICES, MOBILE HEALTH, TELEHEALTH, HEALTH INFORMATION
TECHNOLOGY, AND TELEMEDICINE.”

DIGITAL HEALTH INCLUSION
Technology is now a fundamental part of daily life and has grown, changed and adapted how people think, work and behave.

SO WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY DIGITAL HEALTH INCLUSION AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU?
Digital Health inclusion to me means ensuring everybody has access to technology which enables them to be and feel included. Providing the people with the tools needed to ensure engagement and empowerment through digital solutions and services.

When we look at it in the health and care environment, digital health inclusion needs to be addressed both within the workforces and with the citizens, providing them with the digital health literacy, abilities and tools to fulfil their needs and expectations.

The digital health gap needs to be closed and people need to be able access, be confident and competent in the use of technology and health IT systems including software and apps.

We need to look at how this can be applied to and used in the primary, secondary, tertiary sector, social care and third sector organisations.

It is important that the bridge between health inequalities is closed so that we can deliver good quality services to those that require it the most. Deliver a more holistic approach to enable self care and wellbeing management. We need to ensure we are involving all that is involved in a persons care including the Voluntary Care Sector (VCS) and that digital health is seen as an enabler, as at times it can be viewed as a destructor.

THE PROS AND CONS OF DIGITAL HEALTH

PROS:
• Reduce any inefficiencies in the healthcare system Improve the quality of care for all
• Lower the cost of healthcare
• Provide more personalised health care for patients Improve access to healthcare for all

CONS:
• Access – not everyone has internet access, money or the ability to go online.
• Skills and confidence – people lack knowledge on how to work the internet, or do not trust it or believe in the safety of it.
• Not all services are accessible due to the design and complexity of them.
• Staff capability and capacity. Not all health care staff have been trained and as a result lack the skills and knowledge to recommend digital services/products to patients and service users.

The Digital Health Platforms
In order to have a successful digital health platform manufacturers need to remember the four key areas:

• Personalisation
• Participation
• Precision/predictability
• Prevention.

In order to achieve this we need to really get under the hood to manage access, govern and contribute to the digital health platforms. It needs to be a fairer society for all, enabling health innovators in medical technology to fulfil capabilities including Artificial Intelligence, they must be compliant with Clinical Safety standards and be DTAC ready, Information Governance, Cyber Security but mainly usability
should be at the centre of the product.

However, it is equally as important to implement the tools with the people and embed the
processes so that the biggest of the challenges can be addressed.

According to Professor Marmot some of the biggest challenges we face are inequalities in our climate crisis. ‘We need to pay attention to both of these and at the same time’.

We need to make sure we are implementing and monitoring frameworks so that the Heath IT and software are not only safety compliant but are accessible and being used in all environments, and the persons data is available to all that are involved in their care.

We need to ensure that we collect the rich data to prove the outcomes and the benefits to the end users and citizens. Digital technology is a tool that can be used to answer some of the social missions that we face regionally, nationally and globally.

SO… lets use it, include all, share data, safely, to all sectors, to enable the right care , to the right person, at the right time.

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